Middle East Monitor / August 24, 2023
The head of the Regional Council for West Bank Settlements, Yossi Dagan, submitted a proposal to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday to increase the number of Jewish settlers in the northern West Bank from 170,000 to 1 million by 2050. According to Ynet News, the plan includes constructing cities, industrial zones, a hospital, a railway and an airport.
It was reported that the settlement council has secretly hired the services of engineers and professional consultants to develop the plan. The proposal includes the expansion of existing settlements that will become Jewish cities, as well as the establishment of new cities.
Among the settlements targeted for expansion are Itamar outside the Palestinian city of Nablus; Avnei Hefetz near Tulkarm; and Tzufim and Sal’it near Qalqilyah.
The authors of the plan also intend to resettle the Jews who were evacuated in the 2005 disengagement plan in the northern occupied West Bank, including those from Homesh, where settlers have already established a religious school approved by the current far-right Israeli government. They argue that the plan would help to solve Israel’s housing shortage.
“Looking ahead, overcrowding in the centre of the country must be resolved,” they said. “Our plan is based on the assumption that the West Bank is the key to such a resolution.”
There are already 726,427 Jewish settlers living in 176 Jewish settlements and 186 so-called outposts in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem. All of these settlements and outposts, and the settlers who live in them, are illegal under international law. Indeed, settlement outposts are even illegal under Israeli law.